Hate speech – The expression of hatred or encouragement of any form of violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disadvantages.
It can include cursing, insulting and directed slurs & statements that promotes speech that is intended to stir up hatred or violence against a group or person. Hate speech can also include nonverbal depictions and symbols – the use of emoji sequences or logo’s that are connected to a contentious issue. For example, making a mockery of the Swastika was and still is considered hate speech.
Another example is that of the ‘OK’ sign which was created as a hoax or meme among alt-right groups, who wanted other people and the media to get upset about it and thus look foolish condemning an innocuous symbol. Why the “OK? sign? The general idea is that the looped and extended fingers resemble the letters W and P, standing for “white power.”
Hate speech not only causes psychological harm to those it is aimed at, it entices violence and undermines social equality, especially if the group has historically suffered from being previously marginalized and oppression. Hate speech therefore poses a challenge for modern liberal societies, which are committed to both freedom of speech and social equality.
So where does the line get drawn between Hate Speech and Free Speech?
- If you are directly calling for the harm of a certain group of people, based on ethnicity, race, gender or religion, you are committing hate speech.
- Using extremely derogatory terms referring to an individual is also classed as hate speech
Let’s put it this way: Hate speech is something that’s perhaps been over-complicated. And it’s something 99% of us will find incredibly easy to avoid. However, if you do use an extremely offensive word to convey your hatred of a certain type of person, or encourage violence against them, that’s when you’re in this territory. And there is no social media platform that will tolerate it!